December 11 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
A Felixstowe-based food company was yesterday fined thousands of pounds after one of their workers suffered serious injuries to his right arm when it became trapped in unguarded machinery.
South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court was told 34-year-old Attila Czege, a Hungarian agency worker, had to take several months off work after the incident at Indo European Foods Ltd on September 20, 2012.
The court heard Mr Czege was working on a production line involved in bagging rice when his right arm became trapped and was dragged in and around a large roller at the end of the conveyor.
He suffered fractures to his upper and lower arm and also had to have surgery three times in two weeks to repair the damage.
A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the conveyor had been at use at the factory since 2006 but had never been properly guarded to safeguard workers against dangerous moving parts.
During a routine inspection in April 2009, the HSE urged the company to install guards on that part of the machine – but a spokesman for the executive said the company “failed to adequately act on this advice”.
Representatives of the firm pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and were fined £16,000 yesterday.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell, said: “The risk presented by this conveyor was evident given the working processes involved on the production line.
“The dangers associated with conveyors are well known throughout industry and the guarding of dangerous moving parts is a fundamental element of mechanical safety.
“Conveyors are involved in 30% of all machinery incidents in the food/drink industries and nine out of ten conveyor injuries occur on flat belt conveyors.
“This incident could have easily been avoided as action to guard the machine adequately was quick and inexpensive. It is disappointing that Indo European Foods Ltd failed to satisfactorily heed the earlier advice of HSE.
“Instead, Mr Czege suffered a serious and painful injury which resulted in several months off work.”
In addition to the fine, the firm, which is a food importer and wholesaler, was ordered to pay costs of £910.65 and a victim surcharge of £1,600.